James Toland seemingly scored a coup when Anthony Cournia, a front-of-the-house vet of L20 and Per Se, joined on as general manager and partner of his forthcoming eponymous restaurant. Unfortunately, Cournia won't truly begin his managerial duties until around March, because while Toland initially thought he'd be open by the end of 2010, it's now looking more like late winter. And by the look of the space when we walked through on Wednesday, they have a lot of work on their hands.
The restaurant still looks very much like May Street Market, which shuttered Oct. 30. Toland said the front room will retain the dramatic brick wall, but the bronze cubby may be filled in with smoky glass. That will will be a no reservation dining room for about 50 with two communal tables and high banquettes.
The main dining room will also seat 50, but will be more spacious with multiple tables and banquettes along the back wall. The windows will be covered with scrim and have "static tactile" lights shining down from above. Toland will convert the kitchen to what he calls a typical Swiss line with marble counters.
Toland still wants to be seen as a late-night spot for industry folk, visiting bands and anyone who gets the urge to munch after partying. The menu is still a work in progress, but Toland aims to eliminate the concept of appetizers and entrees, while instead focusing on "less- and more-expensive dishes" with everything falling into the $4 to $24 range. He said his new logo will be a big black sheep, tying into the rock 'n' roll vibe. "I want to give people permission to misbehave," he said. "A little bit."